Forever drawn to tales of serendipitous beginnings, we’re inspired by how Candice and Jason’s fates became inextricably intertwined; where their love story unfolded quite unexpectedly (although completely romantically) within a Bondi Beach share house.
After an intimate proposal shared in New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the pair travelled to Tuscany to marry amongst the ivy-covered walls and olive groves of La Pescaia. Complementing the estate’s rustic surrounds, the couple exchanged vows before wooden doors dressed in arched arrangements of greenery and native blooms.
A garden reception followed where dinner was served at a dramatic single-length table stretching out beneath leafy branches. Mirroring the trees and lanterns above, a textured runner of olive and blue gum foliage decorated the tablescape, creating a stunning symbiosis dotted with candlelight and modern glassware.
Photography by Suegraphy.
Names / Candice & Jason
Wedding Date /15th September 2018
Guest Numbers / 42
How We Met
I was in one of those stressful life situations where I needed a place to live ASAP, so I took a leap of faith and said yes to moving into a Bondi Beach share house. At this point, I had only met one of the new housemates so we arranged for me to meet the others one evening after work. I remember the exact moment that my ‘new housemate, Jason’ introduced himself. He smiled at me and I just melted. I’d never felt anything like it before; it was all the clichés in a single moment. When I moved in I tried my best to avoid him because everyone knows you shouldn’t fall for housemates. But Jason being the ultimate English gentleman, didn’t make that easy for me. He helped move in my furniture, brought home wine to share, wrapped me in jumper when I was cold, and cooked dinner for me (on a night when the housemates were “conveniently” busy). We lasted two long weeks of being just housemates and have spent the rest of our days tremendously in love.
Our Engagement Story
Unfortunately, Jason had an emergency appendix removal a few days before a planned New Zealand mountain climbing trip in November 2017. We decided not to cancel the trip and instead switch to a more relaxing itinerary. After a fabulous day driving around New Zealand’s Canterbury region, Jason popped in the GPS directions to our final destination; an isolated mountain hut at 3000 ft. in the Southern Alps. It required 30 minutes of almost vertical 4WDing to reach it but the view was worth every effort. Jason asked if I would like to take photos at sunset on the deck of the hut. It was freezing outside so I was happy next to the fireplace with my charcuterie board but Jason was insistent that I come outside. I got dressed in every layer of clothing I had brought with me and unknowingly walked outside to one of the best moments of my life. It was there that Jason got down on one knee (very carefully to not bust his stitches). I still remember his hand shaking reaching into his pocket. Straight away, we both started crying, so much so, that Jason forgot his planned speech and I forgot to say yes. It was so beautiful and so overwhelming.
Marriage to us Means
We feel so incredibly lucky that our paths led us to find each other. Marriage for us is recognition of how lucky we are to continue on a path we’ve created together.
Jason’s family live in England, my family in Australia and our friends are all over the world. No matter where we had the wedding, our guests would be travelling so we enquired with nearly 100 venues everywhere in between and found our dream venue in La Pescaia. We wanted a venue that felt like a home; one that could accommodate our guests so that everyone could spend quality time together. La Pescaia was just that, a 15th-century olive grove estate in the Maremma region of Tuscany. The estate is run by two beautiful Italian sisters, Margherita and Beatrice, together with their charismatic husbands. We had never seen it in real life and when we arrived, the happy tears streaming down my face. It was so much more spectacular than the photos we had seen. I don’t think any photo could ever quite capture the remarkable scale and the feeling of being there.
Theme & Style
The style of our wedding was inspired by the rustic yet refined beauty that Tuscany executes so perfectly. We wanted to keep the style natural and allow the venue to speak for itself. We utilised as many areas of the property as possible so our guests could experience a beautiful corner of La Pescaia at each section of the day. It was less so an orchestrated theme, but more a feeling of enchanted romance.
We found our photographers, Sue and Erwin from Suegraphy via Instagram. Their portfolio is airy, fun and filled with emotion. We arranged a Skype call to see if we were a good match. One hour later, we felt like old friends so it was a resounding ‘yes!’. Sue and Erwin arrived in Tuscany in advance to scope shoot locations, so we invited them to join us and our guests at a winery tour the day before. They fit in so seamlessly that everyone believed them to be friends from the Netherlands (until they pulled out their giant cameras). We honestly could not have asked for a better photography team. Sue and Erwin have this wonderful energy that makes everyone feel at ease, allowing them to get the most beautiful candid moments. We adore them and our photos.
I tried on dresses at ateliers but nothing felt quite ‘me’. I wanted an ankle length wrap style dress with bishop sleeves. My best friend suggested that I talk to Dinah Mitchell at Pearl Button Bridal who had made her wedding dress. Pearl Button Bridal is located outside of Milton, 3 hours south of Sydney. I happened to be visiting my family nearby that weekend so I asked Dinah if we could meet. Dinah is a brilliant creative mind and we clicked instantly. She understood and translated the vision for my bespoke dress and veil into reality. On top of that, Dinah’s fabrics are ethically sourced and her dresses sustainably made using hand sewing construction techniques. Dinah has plans to release the dress in a made-to-order collection.
I wore a pair of simple gold scalloped edge stilettos from Rachel Zoe. I switched into a pair of bespoke wedding espadrilles with cream silk ribbon ties for the reception.
My bridesmaids also wore cream floral wrap-style dresses from Reformation. I am so lucky that my bridesmaids are all close friends with similar style, so finding a dress that everyone loved and could wear again turned out to be the simplest part of the wedding organisation.
I wear the Spanish brand, Castañer’s espadrilles every day and have them in multiple colourways, so my bridesmaids wore Castañer cream espadrilles.
We had our bespoke wedding bands made by KHIM from New York who we found through Etsy. Jason designed my engagement ring. He worked with Pallion and their sister company Oscar Winter in the US to source the diamond and create the ring.
Jewelry & Accessories
My bespoke bridal tiara was made by Anna Marguerite in New Zealand.
We worked with The Bespoke Corner Tailors based in Paddington to create Jason’s suit. The three-piece olive green double-breasted suit was made in Tuscany. For our wedding day, Jason decided to pair the suit jacket with white chinos also made by The Bespoke Corner for a lighter Italian summer look. Jason wore Italian woven leather loafers from Aquila and a gold Xeric halograph watch.
My bridesmaids helped me style natural waves.
I rarely wear makeup, so I wanted a soft and natural look. Leading up to the wedding, I had tutorials with my favourite makeup artist at Mecca Cosmetica who helped create an ‘elevated version of me’.
For our stationary, I found Maggie’s Needle from England on Etsy. Maggie drew a custom illustration of the wedding venue for our invitations. For the rest, we used Appycouple.
Flowers & Bouquets
We wanted floral arrangements to feel organic and complimentary to the surroundings. MIIA Events and Flowers used Italian and Australian natives for the arrangements of greenery and warm Tuscan colours.
On the morning of the wedding, Jason and I had gifted each other pieces to wear on the day. Jason gave me a fine gold bracelet and necklace with a green peridot pendant as a connection to his wedding suit. I gave Jason gold cufflinks engraved with the Donnelly family crest.
Wedding Planner/Wedding Stylist
Our wedding venue came with a wedding planning service, MIIA Events based in Milan. As an over-organiser myself, it was a little difficult for me to relinquish control, but Carolina and Silvia of MIIA Events have a beautiful portfolio, and a very similar style so we knew we were in good hands.
They were invaluable on the day. For an hour before the ceremony, it absolutely poured but they handled everything seamlessly, postponed the schedule 10 minutes and put me at ease while we waited for the glorious sunshine that appeared moments before the ceremony.
Ceremony Décor & Reception Décor
We had dreamt of an intimate garden ceremony and so the small courtyard in front of the old church doors, named ‘The Little Garden’ was the perfect setting. We wanted an arch of greenery and wildflowers to frame the door and look like an extension of the ivy-covered walls of La Pescaia.
There is a special section of La Pescaia where old oak trees have curved to create a magical canopy of intertwined branches. We wanted to emphasise that magical feeling and had the long dinner table set underneath those trees with hundreds of candles hanging from the branches to appear as if they were floating. Candles also lined the centre of the table on either side of the olive and blue gum table runner. Each plate setting was adorned with mini apples. Our bride and groom chairs were decorated with greenery and wildflowers to join the two.
After dinner, we moved into the main villa garden where a giant canopy of fairy lights had been illuminated to create a stunning starred sky over the dancefloor.
We decided to forgo the traditional cake for a gelato cart.
Food and Beverages
Perhaps the best part about marrying in Tuscany is that it is the birthplace of the slow food movement. We worked with Guidi Lenci catering to create our dream feast. Following the ceremony, guests were served drinks and canapes under the ancient cedar tree in the main garden. At sunset, guests moved to dinner at the long table where the evening began with local wines and two traditional dishes of the Maremma region. By the pool area in front of our guests, Guidi Lenci’s chefs prepared mouth-watering main dishes over an open fire in traditional Tuscan style.
Ceremony – Heartbeats, José González
Post ceremony – Move On Up, Curtis Mayfield
First dance – Someday, The Strokes (Julia Jacklin cover)
We had a DJ, but we created our own playlists for different sections of the day. Music was one of the first things Jason and I bonded over. We both have quite eclectic music tastes and it was incredibly strange that even though we had grown up on different sides of the world, we had listened to and loved so many of the same songs (even the most obscure) during the same periods of our lives. So, we spent quite a bit of time making each playlist together and dancing around our living room.
We flew to Sicily for our honeymoon. We stayed at many of the places that we had considered as wedding venues. One of our most treasured memories was our time spent on a remote island off the north coast of Sicily. From the port, it took a 3.5-hour boat trip and a one hour hike to the villa at the peak. There are no cars (only a local mule), no hotels and no shops. It was just us and the phenomenal views from the villa’s rooftop lounge. On our last night, the sky had turned into a symphony of colour. Our ceremony song came on shuffle and so we slow danced with the most romantic backdrop of all time.
Our celebrant was the housemate and dear friend that interviewed me for the room at the Bondi Beach share house. He is a wonderful writer and he crafted the most perfectly heartfelt and humorous ceremony script for us.
We poured our hearts into our own vows and it was very emotional, with Jason needing a second tissue to get through them.
Sources of Inspiration
I must confess that I love reading The Lane Real Weddings. I think it is amazing how couples express their personalities through their special day.
When it comes to using resources for finding contacts, I exhausted Instagram geo-tagged locations, Google Maps and Google Earth, Airbnb, local photographer’s websites – anything that was publicly available. I work as a cancer care researcher so I definitely adopted my detailed working style to the wedding research.
A Memorable Moment
Candice: I was so nervous waiting to walk down the aisle, but as soon as I saw Jason’s face at the end and how emotional he was, every anxiety just floated away. I just wanted to hug him and wipe his many tears away.
Jason: Apart from the overwhelming happiness of getting to marry my best friend, I was able to step back and take a moment later in the evening. I looked around and saw all of our closest family and friends from all across the world laughing, joking and dancing together as if they had always known each other.
If I could give other Brides-To-Be one Piece of Advice
Don’t get caught up in comparing your wedding to others. Make your day individual to you as a couple and there can’t be a better day than that.
Photography / Suegraphy
Bride’s Dress / Pearl Button Bridal
Bride’s Shoes / Rachel Zoe
Bridesmaids Dresses / Reformation
Groom’s Formal Wear / The Bespoke Corner
Groom’s Shoes / Aquila
Wedding Rings / KHIM
Headpiece and Veil / Anna Marguerite
Florist / MIIA Events and Flowers
Catering / Guidi Lenci
Wedding Venue / La Pescaia
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